The Best Places to Go Backpacking in Vietnam

From the islands of Ha Long Bay, to the caves of Phong Nha, cascading rice terraces of Sapa, the maze of rivers and rice paddies of the Mekong Delta, and mountains of Da Lat… Vietnam is really attractive for low budget or backpacking tours. I have now picked out the best places in Vietnam and will introduce them now. Have fun to create your own perfect backpacker trip.

Vietnam Fast Facts

Currency: Vietnamese dong
Language: Vietnamese
Population: 96.5 million
Religion: Buddhist is the majority

Hanoi (2 days)

The chaotic capital of Vietnam is a great place to start your journey, or end it. The city has many attractions to see, most of which are lakes, pagodas and museums, and of course, the Old Quarter. What makes Hanoi great is that, as a central hub, you can easily catch transport to the rest of the region.

Recommendation to stay: Central Hanoi Backpackers Hostel (dorms, 5 $/night)

Hanoi

Sapa (2-3 days)

Sapa is one of the best places to see in Vietnam. And it is the place in Vietnam for trekking through the rice terraces, lush valleys and endless karst peaks of the region. Include Heavens Gate, Mount Fansipan (the highest peak of Indochina) and Muong Hoa Valley. You can either book a 2-3 day tour through a company that will include your buses to Sapa and back to Hanoi that includes your trek leaders, homestay, and food. Or you can rent a Motorbike ($10/day), cheap for the freedom to explore some of the incredible sights around Sapa at your own pace.

Recommendation to stay:  spend the night in a village homestay with a tribal family

Sapa

 

Ha Long Bay (2-3 days)

Ha Long Bay, crowned one of the new seven natural wonders of the world, is the epitome of Vietnamese coastline, with its thousands of limestone karst peaks jutting out of its emerald waters and the hundreds of uninhabited islands topped with dense jungle, scattered around the bay. Check out Cat Ba National Park, explore Dau Go cave, and make sure you go kayaking!

Ha Long Bay

 

Hue (2 days)

This is a beautiful small town offering a great break in the journey from Hanoi to Hoi An. One of Vietnams most royal cities, Hue is littered with impressive historic sights, delighting the inner nerd in us all!

Check out the impressive Citadel on the other side of the perfume river. This impressive piece of history is made up of four separate citadel’s and will take a full day to explore, you can hire a bike to get around! Check out the Thien Mu Pagoda; standing at 21 metres high and decorated with mind-blowing architecture this pagoda is a pretty spectacular eyeful.

 Recommended place to stay: Hue Happy Homestay

Hue

 

Z-Event: The Streamers Charity Event

Lucas Michel, France

It becomes an unavoidable event in the French video games community, after the success of the first edition last year. This new edition of the Z-Event beat all records with more than 1 Million Euros collected in 3 days. Organized by one of the most popular French streamers, Adrien “Zerator” Nougaret, and his assistant, Alexendre “Dach” Dachary. This initiative exceeded all expectations and pulverized all the records.eSport - esport - Adrien « ZeratoR » Nougaret, mégaphone en main, au moment de clôturer le Z Event. (Timo Verdeil)

The results of last year were already very impressive. In live from the Adrien’s home, 30 streamers gathered at the same place took turns during the entire week-end, that is to say more than 50 hours. In the end: 500,000 unique viewers, 109.382 peak audience and 487.578,66 Euros (554.120 USD) collected for the association Red Cross and the victims of the Hurricane Irma. The event was relayed by the TV and the gaming community, often criticized for being nerds in their rooms doing nothing, proved this day that they are a lot more than that and can be very generous and with great abilities to come together for a good cause.

But this year was even more impressive. This time it was 40 streamers in the same place. Not at Adrien’s house but in a large room lent for the occasion by the city. More organized, the start  already broke a record, 100,000 Euros were collected in less than one hour. It had taken the entire first night to amass this amount of money last year. In the last hour in the night of Sunday to Monday, the streamers saw the pot increased by 200,000 Euros to overtake the symbolic amount of 1 Million Euros.

More than 190,000 people were connected at 1am to attend the end of the event, more than 1,500,000 unique viewers. A beautiful rewards for Adrien and his team after 53 hours of streaming. The tiredness and the emotions were the reasons Adrien, like some of other streamers, could not restrain their tears after having crossed the level of the million of euros collected. Often despised for their passion for the video games, the gamers community has proven that they can do big and generous things.

History of China

Written by,  Sebastiaan Han, Netherlands

forbidden city

 

The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC from the Shang dynasty. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian (c. 100 BC) and the Bamboo Annals (296 BC) describe a Xia dynasty (c. 2070–1600 BC) before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, and Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia.

Jinshangling2

The Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BC)

The Xia dynasty is the legendary, possibly mythical first dynasty in traditional Chinese history. We never found any written records of this dynasty, but there are a few ancient texts which indicate the existence of this dynasty.  The Xia dynasty was the first government to emerge in ancient China and became the first to apply to the policy of dynastic succession; and so making it the first dynasty of China

The Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC)

Archaeological findings providing evidence for the existence of the Shang dynasty, c. 1600–1046 BC, are divided into two parts. The first part, from the earlier Shang period, comes from sources at Erligang, Zhengzhou, and Shangcheng. The second part, from the later Shang or Yin period, is at Anyang, in modern-day Henan, which has been confirmed as the last of the Shang’s nine capitals (c. 1300–1046 BC).

The Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC)

This is the longest-lasting dynasty China has known. The Zhou dynasty began to emerge in the Yellow River Valley. They captured the territory that belonged to the Shangs. The Zhou lived west of the Shang, and the Zhou leader had been appointed Western Protector by the Shang. The ruler of the Zhou, King Wu, with the assistance of his brother, the Duke of Zhou, as regent, managed to defeat the Shang at the Battle of Muye.

The Zhou people were not invaders; they were Chinese-speaking people descendant from the Longshan Neolithic culture. During the course of several centuries, the Zhou moved away from barbarian pressures, migrating towards the westernmost agricultural basin of North China, the lower Wei River valley, present-day Shaanxi province. Here they began to develop Shang-style agriculture, and they also built a city in an area named Plain of Zhou, which gave its name to the state and the dynasty. The Shang ruling class considered the Zhou “semibarbarious country cousins”. For many years the Zhou and the Shang coexisted alternating peace and war.

CHINA map

The Warring States period (476-221 BC)

After further political disagreements, seven prominent states remained by the end of 5th century BC, and the years consolidation in which these few states battled each other are known as the Warring States period. Though there remained a nominal Zhou king until 256 BC, he was largely a figurehead and held little real power.

Numerous developments were made during this period in culture and mathematics, examples include an important literary achievement, the Zuo Commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals, which summarizes the preceding Spring and Autumn period and the bundle of 21 bamboo slips from the Tsinghua collection, which was invented during this period dated to 305  BC, are the world’s earliest example of a two digit decimal multiplication table, indicating that sophisticated commercial arithmetic was already established during this period.

As neighboring territories of these warring states, including areas of modern Sichuan and Liaoning, were annexed, they were governed under the new local administrative system of commandery and prefecture. This system had been used since the Spring and Autumn period, and parts can still be seen in the modern system of Sheng & Xian (province and county).

The final expansion in this period began during the reign of Ying Zheng, the king of Qin. After he got the approval and trust of Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong and Guangxi in 214 BC, this enabled him to call himself the First Emperor (Qin Shi Huang).

The Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC)

The Qin Dynasty is well-know because of the great Terracotta army. The Qin dynasty was the first dynasty of Imperial China, lasting from 221 to 206 BC. Named for its heartland in Qin state, the dynasty was founded by Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of Qin. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the Legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the fourth century BC, during the Warring States period. In the mid and late third century BC, the Qin state carried out a series of swift conquests, first ending the powerless Zhou dynasty, and eventually conquering the other six of the Seven Warring States. Its 15 years was the shortest major dynasty in Chinese history, consisting of only two emperors, but created an imperial system that lasted, with interruption and adaptation, until 1912 CE.

The Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD)

Han dynasty

The Han Dynasty was founded by Liu Bang, who was victorious in the Chu–Han Contention that brought to the fall of the Qin dynasty. A golden age in Chinese history, the Han Dynasty’s long period of stability and prosperity created the foundation of China as a unified state under a central imperial bureaucracy, which was to last intermittently for most of the next two millennia. The Han Dynasty saw an age of economic prosperity and witnessed a significant growth of their economy first established during the Zhou dynasty (c. 1050–256 BC). The coinage issued by the central government mint in 119 BC remained the standard coinage of China until the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD).

This in particular is a special era for me personally because my ancestors originate from China and specifically from the Han Dynasty. Before my family came to the Netherlands, they lived in Indonesia for many centuries. They came there from China to trade opium and to begin a new business. Several big Chinese families have been settled in Java for centuries, but so far very little has been done to investigate the social integration into the Javanese society and their part of the local economy, but my ancestors are traced back all the way to the 18th century and they played a significant part in the economic development of the “Oosthoek” or Eastern Salient. The family grew bigger and bigger until the Second World War. When the Japanese army came to Indonesia, they took almost everything from my family for their own usage. My grandfather decided to move to the Netherlands, but a lot of family members are still in Indonesia and other parts of the world.

Three Kingdoms (AD 220–280)

By the 2nd century, the empire declined amidst land acquisitions, invasions, and feuding between clans and eunuchs. The Yellow Turban Rebellion broke out in AD 184, happening in an era of warlords. In the ensuing turmoil, three states tried to gain predominance in the period of the Three Kingdoms.

After Cao Cao reunified the north in 208, his son proclaimed the Wei Dynasty in 220. Soon, Wei’s rivals, Shu and Wu, proclaimed their independence, leading China into the Three Kingdoms period. This period was characterized by a gradual decentralization of the state that had existed during the Qin and Han dynasties, and an increase in the power of great families.

In 266, the Jin Dynasty overthrew the Wei and later unified the country in 280, but this union was short-lived.

The Jin Dynasty (AD 266-420)Jin-Dynasty

The Jin Dynasty or the Jin Empire was a Chinese dynasty traditionally dated from 266 to 420. It was founded by Sima Yan, son of Sima Zhao, who was made Prince of Jin and  declared the founder of the dynasty. It followed the Three Kingdoms period, which ended with the conquest of Eastern Wu by the Jin.

The Jin Dynasty was severely weakened by internecine fighting among imperial princes and lost control of northern China after non-Han Chinese settlers rebelled and captured Luoyang and Chang’an. In 317, a Jin prince in modern-day Nanjing became emperor and continued the dynasty, now known as the Eastern Jin, which held southern China for another century. Prior to this move, historians refer to the Jin Dynasty as the Western Jin.

The Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618)

The Sui Dynasty was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of great significance. The Sui unified the Northern and Southern dynasties and reinstalled the rule of ethnic Han Chinese in the entirety of China proper, along with the reuniting of former nomadic ethnic people within its territory.

A lasting legacy of the Sui Dynasty was the Grand Canal. With the eastern capital Luoyang at the center of the network, it linked the west-lying capital Chang’an to the economic and agricultural centers of the east towards Hangzhou, and to the northern border near modern Beijing. While the pressing initial motives were for shipment of grains to the capital, and for transporting troops and military logistics, the reliable inland shipment links would facilitate domestic trades, flow of people and cultural exchange for centuries.

The Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907)

The Tang Dynasty was founded by Emperor Gaozu on 18 June 618. It was a golden age of Chinese civilization and considered to be the most prosperous period of China with significant developments in culture, art, literature, particularly poetry, and technology. Buddhism became the predominant religion for the common people. Chang’an (modern Xi’an), the national capital, was the largest city in the world during its time.

Underlying the prosperity of the early Tang Dynasty was a strong centralized bureaucracy with efficient policies. The government was organized as “Three Departments and Six Ministries” to separately draft, review, and implement policies. These departments were run by royal family members as well as scholar officials who were selected by imperial examinations. These practices, which matured in the Tang dynasty, were continued by the later dynasties, with some modifications.

Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (AD 907–960)

map-907-five-dynasties.jpg

The period of political disunity between the Tang and the Song, known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, lasted from 907 to 960. During this half-century, China was in all respects a multi-state system. Five regimes, namely, Liang, Tang, Jin, Han and Zhou, rapidly succeeded one another in control of the traditional Imperial heartland in northern China. Among the regimes, rulers of  Tang, Jin and Han were sinicized Shatuo Turks, which ruled over the ethnic majority of Han Chinese. More stable and smaller regimes of mostly ethnic Han rulers coexisted in south and western China over the period, cumulatively constituted the “Ten Kingdoms”.

Amidst political chaos in the north, the strategic Sixteen Prefectures (region along today’s Great Wall) were ceded to the emerging Khitan Liao Dynasty, which drastically weakened the defense of the China proper against northern nomadic empires. To the south, Vietnam gained lasting independence after being a Chinese prefecture for many centuries. With wars dominated in Northern China, there were mass southward migrations of population, which further enhanced the southward shift of cultural and economic centers in China. The era ended with the coup of Later Zhou general Zhao Kuangyin, and the establishment the Song dynasty in 960, which eventually annihilated the remains of the “Ten Kingdoms” and reunified China.

Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271–1368)

The Yuan Dynasty, officially the Great Yuan, was the empire or ruling dynasty of China established by Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongolian Borjigin clan. It followed the Song Dynasty and preceded the Ming Dynasty.

Genghis Khan and his sons set the foundation for the Yuan Dynasty by defeating the Western Xia and conquering Central Asia, Mongolia, and the Hexi Corridor. This gave them a base of manpower, horses, technology, and experience to finish the conquest of the fierce Jin army and then to go on and conquer the Dali empire and the Song empire.

Genghis Khan died in 1227 and had named his son, Ogedei, to be the next emperor. Ogedei was said to rule the whole Mongol empire from 1229 to 1241, but he concentrated his efforts in the eastern part of it. In 1232, he invaded the Jin Empire in alliance with the Song Empire. Jin was defeated in 1234. From 1235, Ogedei started a campaign with the Song Dynasty.

Kublai was a grandson of Genghis Khan. He had a comparatively long rule and reformed the empire to increase his power and make the empire prosper.

In 1253, he captured the Dali Kingdom in Yunnan Province.

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In 1259, Kublai campaigned against the Southern Song Dynasty.

In 1260, Kublai took the throne after his elder brother, Mongke, died.When he heard that his elder brother, who was the Great Khan Mongke, had died, he and another brother went to war. Both of them wanted to be the Khan.

They fought a series of battles and Kublai won. This caused a division in the Mongol Empire. The Golden Horde that controlled the area of Russia and Chagatai Khanate did not recognize Kublai Khan as their ruler.

Kublai sent large armies against the Song people in the 1270s. In 1276, the Mongols captured the Song capital of Hangzhou and most of the Song Dynasty clan. However, two young brothers of the captured Song emperor escaped and went south.

In 1227 , the Song Dynasty court fled to Quanzhou.  They were attacked there by a rich Muslim merchant. They fled again to Hong Kong and the court attempted to make a stand there in 1279, but they were soundly defeated by the Mongols. The last emperor died there at the age of 9 in 1279.

The Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644)

The Ming dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China – then known as the Great Ming Empire – for 276 years following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese.

Urbanization increased as the population grew and as the division of labor grew more complex. Large urban centers, such as Nanjing and Beijing, also contributed to the growth of private industry. In particular, small-scale industries grew up, often specializing in paper, silk, cotton, and porcelain goods. For the most part, however, relatively small urban centers with markets proliferated around the country. Town markets mainly traded food, with some necessary manufactures such as pins or oil.

jiajing_emperor_on_his_state_barge

The Ming Dynasty intervened deeply in the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98), which ended with the withdrawal of all invading Japanese forces in Korea, and the restoration of the Joseon Dynasty, its traditional ally and tributary state. The regional hegemony of the Ming dynasty was preserved at a toll on its resources. Coincidentally, with Ming’s control in Manchuria in decline, the Manchu (Jurchen) tribes, under their chieftain Nurhaci, broke away from Ming’s rule, and emerged as a powerful, unified state, which was later proclaimed as the Qing dynasty. It went on to subdue the much weakened Korea as its tributary, conquered Mongolia, and expanded its territory to the outskirt of the Great Wall. The most elite army of the Ming dynasty was to station at the Shanhai Pass to guard the last stronghold against the Manchus, which weakened its suppression of internal peasants uprisings.

Qing Dynasty (AD 1644–1911)

Qing dynasty

The Qing Dynasty, officially the Great Qing, was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China.

The Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) was the last imperial dynasty in China. Founded by the Manchus, it was the second conquest dynasty to rule the entire territory of China and its people. The Manchus were formerly known as Jurchens, residing in the northeastern part of the Ming territory outside the Great Wall. They emerged as the major threat to the late Ming Dynasty after Nurhaci united all Jurchen tribes and established an independent state. However, the Ming Dynasty would be overthrown by Li Zicheng’s peasants rebellion, with Beijing captured in 1644 and the Chongzhen Emperor, the last Ming emperor, committing suicide.

In response to calamities within the empire and threats from imperialism, the Self-Strengthening Movement was an institutional reform in the second half of the 1800s. The aim was to modernize the empire, with prime emphasis on strengthening the military. However, the reform was undermined by corrupt officials, cynicism, and quarrels within the imperial family. As a result, the “Beiyang Fleet” were soundly defeated in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895). The Guangxu Emperor and the reformists then launched a more comprehensive reform effort, the Hundred Days’ Reform (1898), but it was soon overturned by the conservatives under Empress Dowager Cixi in a military coup.

At the turn of the 20th century, the violent Boxer Rebellion opposed foreign influence in Northern China, and attacked Chinese Christians and missionaries. When Boxers entered Beijing, the Qing government ordered all foreigners to leave. But instead the foreigners and many Chinese were besieged in the foreign legations quarter. The Eight-Nation Alliance sent the Seymour Expedition of Japanese, Russian, Italian, German, French, American, and Austrian troops to relieve the siege. The Expedition was stopped by the Boxers at the Battle of Langfang and forced to retreat. Due to the Alliance’s attack on the Dagu Forts, the Qing government in response sided with the Boxers and declared war on the Alliance. There was fierce fighting at Tientsin. The Alliance formed the second, much larger Gaselee Expedition and finally reached Beijing; the Qing government evacuated to Xi’an. The Boxer Protocol ended the war.

Modern China

Republic of China (since 1912)

Frustrated by the Qing court’s resistance to reform and by China’s weakness, young officials, military officers, and students began to advocate the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and the creation of a republic. They were inspired by the revolutionary ideas of Sun Yat-sen. A revolutionary military uprising, the Wuchang Uprising, began on 10 October 1911, in Wuhan. The provisional government of the Republic of China was formed in Nanjing on 12 March 1912. The Xinhai Revolution ended 2,000 years of dynastic rule in China.

After the success of the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, Sun Yat-sen was declared President, but Sun was forced to turn power over to Yuan Shikai, who commanded the New Army and was Prime Minister under the Qing government, as part of the agreement to let the last Qing monarch abdicate (a decision Sun would later regret). Over the next few years, Yuan proceeded to abolish the national and provincial assemblies, and declared himself emperor in late 1915. Yuan’s imperial ambitions were fiercely opposed by his subordinates; faced with the prospect of rebellion, he abdicated in March 1916, and died in June of that year.

Yuan’s death in 1916 left a power vacuum in China; the republican government was all but shattered. This ushered in the Warlord Era, during which much of the country was ruled by shifting coalitions of competing provincial military leaders.

In 1919, the May Fourth Movement began as a response to the terms imposed on China by the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I, but quickly became a nationwide protest movement about the domestic situation in China. The protests were a moral success as the cabinet fell and China refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles, which had awarded German holdings to Japan. The New Culture Movement stimulated by the May Fourth Movement waxed strong throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

 

Sources:

Wikipedia

https://www.ancient.eu/

https://www.britannica.com

Typical Spanish Food

By Mireia Bach 

Spanish food is often recognized as one of the top cuisines in the world. We have a lot of traditional Spanish dishes and recipes. However, I’m going to write about the most typical ones – paella, tortilla de patatas, croquetas and gazpacho -.

Paella, is the most famous dish in Spain. Everybody knows it. The main ingredient is the rice-based and you can mix it with meat like chicken or rabbit (Paella de montana), or with seafood such as calamari, mussels, clams, prawns and fish (Paella de marisco). Moreover, you can mix shellfish and meat together, which, in my opinion is not the best option but, there are people who do it (Paella mixta / Paella de mar y montana). In addition, you can find another type of paella, that it’s not so common, but it tastes so good too. It’s called black rice (Paella de arroz negro) because the rice is stained by octopus ink and then mixed with seafood. 

paella montana.jpg

paella negra.jpg

 

The Spanish omelette more commonly known as Tortilla de patatas, is another famous Spanish dish. The main ingredients are eggs, potatoes and if you want, you can add onion. Also, there is another choice while the people cook the Spanish omelette. You can cook it a little bit raw or well cooked, always using olive oil. Spanish people eat this type of omelette as a starter for lunch or dinner. It’s called tapa de tortilla.

tortilla

 

The third dish is called croquetas, you can find six flavours: meat, cured ham, cheese, mushrooms, chicken or fish. My favourites are the ones which have meat inside. The croquetas is another meal that you can eat as a tapa in every Spanish restaurant or bar. The ingredients that you need for cooking this typical dish are: the flavour that you choose and bechamel sauce, after that you breaded and fried.

croquetas2

 

The last one but not least, is the gazpacho. This is a typical summer dish and it’s made with full-flavoured fresh tomatoes, olive oil, green peppers, cucumbers, garlic, onions, vinegar and herbs. It’s a refreshing meal that you eat inside a bowl as an appetizer. It is also a good option if you prefer to eat fresh and healthy because is a low calorie dish. As you can see in the picture, you can add some fresh cut vegetables and little pieces of bread to make it tasty.

summer-gazpacho

 

World Wildlife Fund Takes Stock

Maxime Vautrelle, France

World Wildlife Fund released a report about wildlife’s situation since the last forty years, and the situation is critical. Including climate change and habitat loss, the planet have declined 60 percent of this population wildlife, most due to human activity.

60 percent in 40 years. As Carter Roberts, president and chief executive officer of WWF-US, said “This report sounds a warning shot across our bow. Natural systems essential to our survival — forests, oceans, and rivers — remain in decline,” this report is a real warning for the future of the planet. Also he claimed that we have to change our habits because this planet is our home and we need it. For example, 20 percent of the Amazon disappeared and that continue. The biggest decline is creatures that live in fresh water, the decline has estimated at 83 percent drop.

“Humanity and the way we feed, fuel, and finance our societies and economies is pushing nature and the services that power and sustain us to the brink,” said the report about the causes of the human activity on the nature. The consequences has been measured and the globe has lost about half their shallow-water corals in the last 30 years.wwf-feature

Earth’s temperature increase of 2 degrees in 2100

Ken Norris, director of science at the Zoological Society of London, who provided the data for the report, said that the statistics are “scary,” but it doesn’t mean we should give up and exactly the opposite. The report calls people, businesses and governments to do together a “global deal for nature” to preserve diversity of wildlife on the planet. Therewith, the director general Marco Lambertini of WWF explain “we have two main problems (…) First the greatest, is the cultural challenge. For too long we have taken nature for granted, and this needs to stop. The second is economic. We can no longer ignore the impact of current unsustainable production models and wasteful lifestyles.”polar-bear

Meanwhile, another report released from IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) about the urgent situation. Currently, our greenhouse gas emissions are warming up the earth. They estimated will reach 2 degrees Celsius at the end of this century. Exceeded two degrees is the limit, after that, the actual consequences we have noticed on the environment, will be amplified. Extinctions are likely to increase dramatically, and the majority of world’s corals (including on the Great Barrier Reef) will disappear.

To conclude, we have to change our habits, daily routines and make the environment our first priority. That’s a big actual problem which should solves others as economics or socials. The Earth is in global danger and neither political leader from a world power seems to be focused on this problem.

 

Why People Buy Designer Brands

Michelle Christoffersen, Denmark

A lot of people seem to be obsessed with buying designer brands, even when they can’t afford them. Why is it so important for people, and what is the psychology behind it? Self-esteem has a lot to do with this, and many people maybe feels that they have something to live up to. They want to have the same stuff as their friends, people they see on Instagram or their favorite celebrity. They feel like the society is evolved around materialistic stuff and that it gives you status to have the brand new designer handbag.

Back to social media and the internet, it has become the best way for businesses to advertise their brand name and their products. On Instagram for example, a business can make influencers wear their clothes and advertise their brand for them. Young people see these celebrities and influencers and want to have the same things as them, hoping that they too, can get a little of the glam. Self identity and social status plays a big role here, because people want to represent a certain kind of type. The clothes they wear represent which kind of person they are (or want to be).

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A good reason for buying designer brands is, that it is good quality and there is a big chance that a pair of jeans from a designer brand is gonna last longer than one for $25 in Marshalls. Designer brands are usually made from finer fabrics and have superior stitching compares to those of bargain stores. But then again, if you can’t afford it, it is not a good enough reason that it is better quality if it costs you $200 more and a big loan on your credit card.

Brand loyal costumers to a certain brand, also explains why people sometimes pay overprice just for the brand. Apple inc. is a good example for this. A lot of their costumers are ready to by the new IPhone, Ipad, MacBook etc. from them no matter the price and even though brands like Samsung and Microsoft often gives a better quality and system in their technology compared to Apple. The costumers don’t care. They are brand loyal and they are comfortable with the brand, so that is where they are gonna stay. It’s the same with clothing and accessories brands.

I have been guilty of buying things that are maybe a little overpriced because I wanted the brand, I think a lot of us have. Sometimes it can be okay to give yourself a little extra nice thing, but you shouldn’t be in debt for it, you should save up and only spend the amount you really can afford. I think our society today, evolves a lot around materialistic stuff and who has the most expensive and trendy stuff. That’s why a lot of people feel the need to buy these things, because everyone else does it. And who wants to feel like they are worth less than the rest? No one.

 

 

 

Earth Pollution

ALMATHNA-SAUDI ARABIA

pollutant is any substance that, when in an environment, poisons our air, land and water. Chemicals have poisoned all of the world, harming humans, wildlife, and plant life, on land, sea and air. Approximately 100,000 synthetic chemicals are now on the market, with one thousand new chemicals are added yearly.

 

Toxic pollution affects more than 200 million people worldwide, according to Pure Earth, a non-profit environmental organization. In some of the world’s worst polluted places, babies are born with birth defects, children have lost 30 to 40 IQ points, and life expectancy may be as low as 45 years because of cancers and other diseases. Read on to find out more about specific types of pollution.

Land can become polluted by household garbage and by industrial waste. In 2014, Americans produced about 258 million tons of solid waste, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A little over half of the waste — 136 million tons— was gathered in landfills. Only about 34 percent was recycled or composted.

solution

we have to use less gas and more elctric we should get the elctric from the wind and the water and the power of the sun if we do that we will get less solution and we get save the earth and the air so our children could live a good and healthy life .earth

 

 

Dystopias

Enora Haugmard France

Dystopia is a variant of science fiction. Unlike utopias, which take place on happy locations, in most cases, dystopias depict nightmarish worlds because literally ‘dystopia’ means ‘not-good place’. Authors, according to their centuries, describe the world they imagine for the future.
So, in what way is the writing of dystopias revealing the fears and worries present for the future world?

There is a the translation of the scientific progress in dystopias. Then, dystopias evoke the fear of lack of freedom and can talk about the fear of the technological advances.

In first part, we can talk about Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s dystopia based on a scientific and eugenic society. In his novel, we understand thatImage result for brave new world basically all babies who are born are automatically placed in classes that define which statue they have in their society. For example, Alpha is the best one. They are programmed to be tall, beautiful, and clever. Then, Bêtas also formed an intelligent class. Gammas, Deltas and Epsilon are the middle and low classes.

The chapter 2 takes place in a hospital where the Director forms Bêtas. There is a loud speaker which makes a speech “Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas”. These conditioning behaviors include the acceptance of social classes. By listening to these words when you are a child we will always remember who you are in the society.

Therefore, we noticed how social conditioning is violent. Moreover, in Huxley’s dystopia, babies are conditioned by electric shocks to learn hatred of beautiful things. This extract depicts a nightmarish world, controlled by the power of words, and the violence.

 

Suzanne Collins wrote The Hunger Games in 2008. In the beginning of the book, we discover a world separated by a fence in the 12th District. Image result for hunger games collinsThe first Chapter introduces Katniss, the main character, she lives in the 12th district and she likes hunting in the forest even if it’s forbidden. Panem, the 12th, is the poorest district. In the beginning, the location is described as somewhere “gray” and “dusty”. Panem is a place where the government had taken everything.

Moreover, people such as Katniss must obey to superior authority, in this case, the Capitol, the only one place that can be rich. To enforce the authority, a kind of military exists  : the Peacekeepers. But to maintain terror, the Hunger Games also exists . A game which aims to choose two people of each district and to make them fight until the death. So, people are always submissive and therefore without liberty. This world would be the nightmare of the totalitarianism.

 

The futuristic world involve technological progress. Richard K Morgan’s novel, called Altered Carbon, set in a future in which life is facilitatedImage result for altered carbon richard k morgan by transferring consciousnesses between bodies. It follows the attempt of Takeshi Kovacs, a soldier turned private investigator. But when Takeshi is resleeved, it’s not in his own body. In his novel, a rich man named Laurens Bancroft has, apparently, committed suicide. When he is resleeved and his destroyed stack restored, its 48-hours back-up schedule means he has no memories of the previous two days. Convinced he was murdered, Bancroft hires Takeshi Kovacs to investigate. He is forced to obey because the people who are called Meths, people like Bancroft, are wealthy and are among other things, able to acquire replacement bodies forever.

So, they are eternal while people are dying because they don’t have money to restore their stacks. Therefore, people are also hierachied and submissive to powerful people but also dominated by technology and become kinds of robots.

Dystopias translate the fears and worries present about our future world. The fear that science will become more important than human beings, that it categorized people and gives too much power to some people. We are afraid that perfection will become too important and threaten the uniqueness. Then, it also translates the fear of losing our liberty, the fear that the government will take us over. And finally we develop a fear of technological progress that could destroy our humanity and dominate the human world. In each case, everything seems irreversible. This may be a warning from the authors.

In my opinion, Dystopias are a good way to make people aware about the most likely future problems that hovers over the world. Then, it also permits the creation of a brief idea of what our world could be like in some centuries.

 

How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Luna, Belgium

Having a healthy lifestyle starts with a healthy mindset. You need to be in peace with yourself to be able to have access to that stable lifestyle you want. It’s all about finding that balance between self-care and allowing yourself to have a treat. It is important to know how your body works and how to improve your way of living.

The motivation and will to become healthy comes from within and you are the only person controlling your body. If you really want it, go and get it. It is as simple as that. You have to find certain sources of motivation to keep track of that lifestyle you want to achieve. As long as your mindset is in a good place, you will be, too !

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One of the first things that is crucial to know and that you’ve probably heard a billion of times is drinking water. It makes you feel cleansed 24/7 and it is recommended to drink 180 ml per day. It will keep your system going and your skin clear!

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Eating healthy always sounds so boring and like it’s something you have to endure, but it is way more easy and delicious than it sounds. You can find tons of easy recipes online that are so healthy and really tasty. Another way to achieve health in general is finding healthier options for things like butter, sugar and other harmfull products we might use a little too much. Coconut oil, Agave syrup are way better options for those two examples. Try to include plant-based products as much as you can in your diet because those are the most beneficial food sources you can eat. Vegetables and fruits are really important but, they’re not the only ones out there ; quinoa, all kinds of rice, grains, beans, lentils … are  fibers and protein sources that are so easy to make, way healthier and better for the environment than meat or fish.

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After you get your diet down and decide which kinds of food are working for you and your inner body, you need to focus on your body image. That is where exercise will become part of your routine. Try to find ways you like to exercise because going to the gym is not always a pleasure for everyone. Dancing, hiking, yoga, swimming sounds like fun to me and are really nice activities you can do with other people.

Finally, you need to see this as a better way of living and not a restrictive way of living. You need to enjoy it in order to maintain it. That’s why balance is the most important thing. You should be able to treat yourself, but have a healthy lifestyle in general.

https://www.pickuplimes.com/

 

EF Graduation

ALMATHNA – MOHAMMED , SAUDI ARABIA

On that day, many people of EF students graduate from the school and they pass the exam and the EF did a graduate party for them and these of the pictures on that day.

As well as all the students here in EF they dream of this beautiful opportunity, which is graduation because it’s considered the joy of the final outcome of the hardship of traveling and study.

Finally, I wish all the students success and return home safely and wait for my chance to graduate from the institute to complete my joy and achieve the goal that I came to . 

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